At long last Minnie Minoso is finally a Hall of Famer. The White Sox legend was one of four players selected for induction by the Golden Days Era Committee. He received 14 votes from the 16 member committee.
Minoso joins Jim Kaat, a fellow former White Sox, along with Gil Hodges of the Dodgers and Minnesota Twins star Tony Oliva. White Sox 1972 league MVP Dick Allen narrowly missed the cut, receiving 68% of votes.
Minoso had a fine playing career. He appeared in 1,373 games in a White Sox uniform, racking up 135 home runs and 808 RBIs on the Southside. He played a total of 12 seasons with the White Sox, four with the Cleveland Indians, three with the New York Cubans of the Negro National League, and one with the St Louis Cardinals.
Minoso is a 13-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove winner. In his first major league season in 1951, he finished fourth in the MVP voting and second in the Rookie of the Year voting. He also finished in the top five of the MVP voting back-to-back seasons with the White Sox in 1953 and 1954. Minoso also led the MLB in triples on three separate occasions (1951,1954, 1956). In 1960 be led the league with 184 hits. He finished his career with 195 home runs, 1093 RBIs, and 216 stolen bases.
But Minoso’s impact on the game of baseball extends far beyond his stats. He is the first Black Cuban player in MLB history to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. One of his more impressive feats is being the only player in baseball history to play in five different decades.
Minoso broke the seal for the White Sox organization, becoming the first person of color to don a White Sox uniform on May 1st, 1951. In his first at-bat, he launched a homer off of Yankees pitcher Vic Raschi at Comiskey Park.
He was also a pioneer for Latinx players in the big leagues. Minoso set up the pipeline for Cuban players playing on the Southside of Chicago. Minoso is affectionately nicknamed “Cuban Comet”.
“I just imagine all the things that Minnie did without his family being here with him, and he never had a problem,” former White Sox pitcher and World Series Champion told MLB.com via an interpreter. “He was good on and off the field. He fought through all the obstacles in front of him He did great. He was a real hero because I cannot imagine doing all the things that he did at the time. And to me, he was a hero, and deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.”
A statue of Minoso overlooks the concourse of Guaranteed Rate Field and his No. 9 has been retired by the team. His induction marks a bittersweet moment for the Minoso family and his fans. In 2014 he fell short of the votes needed by the Golden Age committee despite years of advocacy from fans, colleagues, historians, and Cuban players that idolized him. He never got to enjoy being bestowed the sports highest honor. Minoso passed away in 2015 at the age of 89 but his legacy and impact on the game of baseball live on.